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Bankia Chairman Says He Welcomes Probe of Share Trading Activity

May 24 (Bloomberg) -- Bankia SA Chairman Jose Ignacio Goirigolzarri said he welcomed a regulatory probe into a 51 percent drop in the Spanish bank’s share price yesterday.

The decision by the regulator, known as CNMV, to probe trading volume in Bankia shares in Madrid is “good news,” Goirigolzarri said in an interview with COPE radio today. Institutional investors may have shorted the stock, he said.

Bankia investors, many of whom are the bank’s own clients, are suffering under the terms of a 22 billion-euro ($28.5 billion) bailout for the lender last year that will impose losses on holders of junior debt and dilute shareholders.

CNMV said yesterday it will investigate trading activity after 49.39 million Bankia shares changed hands, more than double its share capital of 19.93 million shares.

Bankia fell 1.5 percent to 67 cents at 4:57 p.m. in Madrid, extending a decline this week to 84 percent, the biggest weekly slump since it began trading in July 2011.

The price compares with the 1.353 euros that new shares will be issued at in an exchange of subordinated debt. The shares were registered today and will start trading May 28.

To contact the reporter on this story: Charles Penty in Madrid at cpenty@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Frank Connelly at fconnelly@bloomberg.net

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